The Produce Traceability Initiative (PTI), designed to help the produce industry maximize the effectiveness of current traceback procedures, is developing a response to the Institute of Food Technologists' (IFT) 10 recommendations, released by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the document titled "Pilot Projects for Improving Product Tracing Along the Food Supply System Final Report."
The PTI community, with the coordination of its four administering organizations (Canadian Produce Marketing Association, GS1 US, Produce Marketing Association, and United Fresh Produce Association) will work to collect industry feedback and commentary on each of the 10 recommendations outlined in the report.
The FDA is now seeking comments on the pilot project final report as a next step in the process of submitting the findings to Congress and developing proposed traceability rules in support of the Food Safety Modernization Act. The volunteer members of PTI have been working toward whole chain case-level electronic traceability in this industry-led initiative for more than five years with the active involvement of industry stakeholders.
"The produce industry has been looking forward to these traceability recommendations to make sure that we can move confidently with the traceability best practices that we have collectively developed in the PTI," said Mike Agostini, senior director, produce, Wal-Mart Stores, co-chair of the PTI Leadership Council. "Our industry community is excited to have the opportunity to delve into the details of the report and provide feedback to FDA."
The pilot projects were designed to explore and demonstrate methods for rapid and effective tracking and tracing of food, including types of data that are useful for tracing and ways to connect the various points in the supply chain.
"Many of us in the grower/packer/shipper community are pleased to see that the IFT recommends a uniform set of record-keeping requirements, encourages current industry-led initiatives, and suggests the development of standardized electronic mechanisms for the reporting of traceability data," said Sabrina Pokomandy, marketing and public relations manager at JemD Farms, who also co-chairs the PTI Communications Working Group. "These recommendations are in alignment with the goals and vision of PTI and help us move forward with industry-wide traceability implementations."
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